PMD: During the first discussion of the expert committee appointed to support the ministerial committee for the national education policy framework, President Ranil Wickremesinghe emphasized the crucial role of human resources in the development of any country. Drawing inspiration from the progress achieved by developed nations, the President stressed the importance of establishing a robust education system and cultivating a skilled workforce to accomplish the objectives of becoming a developed country by 2048.
During the discussion held at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday (14) the President acknowledged the significance of aligning the country’s human resources, enhancing the education system, and transforming the nation into a regional education hub. To facilitate this, the ‘Education Ministerial Committee’ was formed, chaired by President Ranil Wickremesinghe and comprised of ten members. Additionally, a sub-committee was appointed to support the reforms in five key areas, including early childhood education, primary and secondary education, higher education, vocational training, and information technology.
Amidst the discussions, urgent amendments to the education system were extensively deliberated upon, with a focus on equipping the future generation to overcome upcoming challenges and build a skilled workforce. President Ranil Wickremesinghe emphasized the need for fixed examination periods and announced his intention to legally establish a specific month for the GCE Advanced level examination. Any changes to the fixed schedule would require submission to Parliament for approval, except in cases of extreme emergencies such as pandemics or Tsunami. The President also highlighted the preparation of corresponding laws.
Furthermore, President Ranil Wickremesinghe emphasized the importance of retaining children in school education for thirteen years and called for a decision regarding the necessity of the GCE Ordinary Level Examination and the Year Five Scholarship examination.
In addition, the President emphasized the imperative of advancing education and technology while maintaining the standard of the school system. Special attention was given to the measures required to enhance the English skills of school children.
Recognizing the significance of the quality of education, the President stressed the need for established standards in both government and private schools. To achieve this, the operation of inspectorates was deemed necessary.
Furthermore, President Ranil Wickremesinghe highlighted the urgency for immediate changes in the vocational training sector. Acknowledging that a trained workforce is essential for a country’s development, he underscored the importance of rapid transformations in Sri Lanka’s vocational training sector to meet the demands of the upcoming labour market.
President Wickremesinghe further stated that a comprehensive long-term economic philosophy should precede discussions on education. Emphasizing the interdependence of education and economic growth, he outlined the aim to overcome short-term debt and achieve a sustained economic growth rate of 8% to 9% within three years, maintained for at least a decade. Such progress is pivotal for propelling the country forward.
The President highlighted several factors influencing the rate of economic growth, emphasizing the importance of scaling up products and drawing inspiration from successful examples such as Malaysia, China, and Singapore. However, he emphasized the need for a phased approach, recognizing that immediate transformation on par with Singapore’s development is not feasible.
However, the President said that Sri Lanka needs to look at automation to meet the labour shortage within the next ten years’, so that Sri Lanka would have a highly automated labour force and become the automated manufacturing hub in this region.
Highlighting human resources as the primary resource for this journey, the President referred to the examples of South Korea, Singapore, Japan, and India, who have achieved development through the effective utilization of human capital. The path to such goals needs to be carefully planned and determined.
Therefore, the convergence of education, economic framework, and climate change was identified as crucial. Only through competitiveness can the country progress towards a highly competitive economy, which remains the ultimate objective.
The discussion was attended by President’s Secretary Mr Saman Ekanayake, Prime Minister’s Secretary Mr Anura Dissanayake, and members of the Education Expert Committee.